Welcome to my stop on the tour for the Divided Worlds YA sci-fi series by Imran Siddiq! Below you can find more info on the books and authors as well as my review of the first book, Disconnect, and an international giveaway! The tour has been organized by Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Blurb for book 1: Disconnect
Zachary, a 16-year old Underworlder digs in waste to find anything worth bartering. That is the rule of scavenging. When he discovers footage of an Overworld girl, Rosa, he’s intrigued by her sorrow and breaks the rule.
That decision changes his life, and he will suffer for it.
Zachary must overcome worthlessness, prejudice, and not let a twisted lie devour the new reason that he survives; Rosa.
In space, love had boundaries.
Blurb for Book 2: Disassemble
Zachary is a scavenger, and he’ll do anything to survive. With Rosa by his side, nothing will break him.
After the Galilei Research Base is plunged into darkness, an unexpected threat emerges.
Where Zachary was the hero before, he will become the enemy.
It’s not just about surviving anymore. It’s about saving everyone before they destroy one another, especially Rosa.
Blurb for Book 3: Disrupt
Everything that Zachary lived for has changed. There are no rewards to come from scavenging. Just memories. But even they are not enough to remove thoughts of a worthless life.
In the midst of death, a purpose to live appears.
It wills Zachary to break the divide that has destroyed many.
This fight will be on his terms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Imran Siddiq is a Law Graduate employed as a Senior Manager in the NHS. After an operation to remove a brain tumour, he decided to make his dreams real. Now, he sacrifices time to write and serve his two cats.
He’s a veteran of writing festivals, a constant on Twitter, and gobbles up all forms of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Living in Leicester, he is passionate about creating images in digital art.
Young Adult Science Fiction is his preferred genre, and he will throw a droid into every novel – literally throw.
What intrigued me most about Disconnect was the premise of two worlds sharing the same space but being separated opposites of one another. I was also very curious to meet a scavenger character.
I’ll be honest, I did have my problems with the novel but what always kept me reading is the actual story and plot because those are very strong and different from most other books I’ve read! Zachary’s life is pretty horrible. Everyone’s life is, in Underworld. Electricity is scarce, good food is nonexistent (try rat for dinner), housing is dismal and real friends are rare. Poverty and darkness abound and there are no prospects to speak of.
Zachary is a well-rounded character, just a 16-year-old trying to make his way scavenging and selling parts. Being a Scavenger rather than a Far-Waller like his father is a large part of his identity and I liked how that was visible in the way he looked at the world through that particular lense. His relationship with his father is complicated and he spends a lot of time alone or with Patch, his half-broken droid. He has difficulties connecting to people and prefers to scavenge alone. That’s how he finds an Intercom dropped with the daily garbage from Overworld. He first wants to sell it (it would fetch a big price) but wants to see what’s on it first. He manages to access the pictures and videos on it, and that’s how he learns about Rosa, an Overworld girl who recorded messages diary-style. It’s his first glance at the other side of the big space research station they all live in, but despite their different lives he feels a connection to Rosa. So when his father mentions a trip to Overworld to fix something and drops Rosa’s family name, Zachary persuades him to take him along and gets his first glimpse at Overworld. And at Rosa in real life, who is not exactly what he expected.
Rosa, unfortunately, didn’t quite meet my expectations either. Her characterization was mostly through Zachary eyes and she just always stayed a bit superficial and flat for me. I got that he connected with her – they’re both lonely – but when started developing romantic feelings for her I got a little doubtful. They kept communicating via her Intercom (risky, since it can be located) but their conversations weren’t all that deep and it was obvious she had no idea what true hardship was. I liked how they got over their misconceptions of their respective worlds, but I would have enjoyed the story more if their relationship had been a strong friendship instead of a romance and the focus had been more on the suspense and intrigues of the plot.
I also had difficulties with the writing. Some of the sentences and imagery used was very strange or didn’t make sense. I had the impression that it got better later in the book (or maybe I got used to it) but in the beginning, and at moments throughout, it really bothered me. Here’s two quotes to show what I mean: “Staggering for a second, a rapid blur sucked his breath away.” Or “whiffs of putrid rabbit meat wrung Zachary’s neck”. How can a blur suck anyone’s breath away? There were a lot of these types of constructions. I mean it’s clear what’s meant… sort of. It just doesn’t quite work semantically.
So what made me continue reading? Easy. The actual story and the really detailed, complex world building. I loved getting glimpses at the larger project and organization of the Galilei Research Base, the space station of sorts originally meant to land on the Jupiter moon Europa. There was just enough explanation in the beginning to ground the readers, and then leave them to piece things together and figure the world out without any major info-dumps via interior monologue. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish considering how well thought-out the world of Disconnect is, and it was executed expertly.
The pacing was also nice. It takes a bit to really bring all the different puzzle pieces into position but the story didn’t drag because it gave the reader time to learn about the world. Also, once the shit hits the fan it’s pretty much non-stop action and I really admired Zachary for his will to keep fighting against really bleak odds and despite the great loss he suffered.
Overall, although I had my problems with the writing, I will definitely read the next book in the series because I want to know how the story continues and I liked that it also dealt with issues of prejudice, equality, the ethics of how far science and experimentation should go and the struggle for a more just system. I was really hooked! The romance sub-plot wasn’t quite necessary in my opinion, but I can imagine that a lot of other readers will enjoy its Romeo/Juliet-esque appeal. If you’re into a YA sci-fi with dystopian elements that is set in space or into stories about a clear class-divide and the problems resulting from it, you should give the Divided Worlds series a try!
To clarify in case you are confused about my assessment: I'd rate it a 3.5 out of 5
What do you think of the general premise of the series? Would you like it now that you know more and have read my review? Let me know in the comments! Also, don't forget to enter the international giveaway below :)
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